Friday, January 30, 2009

Inside The Roundhouse

Photographing abandoned places could perhaps be said as capturing a fragment of ones own personality as well as the viewers who admire and connects to such genre.
Being able to communicate visually ones point of view to another with such interest and enthusiasm is an art in itself especially when your subject matter is about decrepit, decaying and abandonment it's much different and more challenging then photographing beautiful landscapes but being able to accomplish this with just natural lighting and without any fancy effects makes it most unique and rewarding.

This monochrome image was taken at the Spencer Shops in North Carolina in the early 1980's inside the now restored roundhouse, the natural light coming from the upper windows sheds it as needed to give it the necessary mood that I was wanting to convey while the exposed post and beams of the structure along with the old locomotives being stored adds the theme.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Life after Death

As gloomy as it may sound I find walking through graveyards very relaxing and sometimes a place where great photographic opportunities exist.
Take this shot for example, where in an abstract kind of imagination the life of the tree almost appears to have taken on the spirit of the young departed, both tree and headstone being quite old.

This was taken in an older section of a fairly large cemetery somewhere in North Carolina which also shows other graves from the 1800's with both children and adults. I look at this headstone and imagine a young family that moved to the south from the north during the time of the civil war or soon after and losing this adolescent to perhaps either sickness or another type of accident.

Though originally photographed in 35mm color I decided to convert it to black and white for the reasons of both contrast and mood.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Georgia Farmhouse

Sometimes taking backroads has its benefits, this old abandoned farmhouse was outside of the historic town of Andersonville Georgia where I stopped for the first time to shoot a few photographs on the way home from Tennessee back in 1997, the countryside was gorgeous and while leaving the historic town I decided to take a route that was a bit out of the way of the main highway but well worth it.

Like out of a novel, the miles and miles of lonely roads filled with farm's and abandoned structures bought me to a transitory state, It was a great opportunity of the senses and I could easily visualize the historic past coming to life before me as I drive past the forlorn aged dwellings. This image was a result of my experience of this area it captures the feel of a families past, their dreams and hopes that as time went on and generations past, slowly declined into an almost dreamy death.

This was photographed using Kodak 35mm Infrared b/w film and Pentax camera.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Abandoned Brick House

Living in an old railroad town has its benefits, both preserved and abandoned buildings run in the abundance and can be found within blocks away. This house was probably built in the early 1900's and was used both for residential and commercial ventures over the years most recently a hairstylist salon but was closed and boarded up about 5 years ago.

There are many other small towns within a 20 mile range from here that I have been scouting for photographic opportunities and will eventually post the images here.

This was photographed with my Nikon digital camera and converted to sepia with Paint Shop Pro X2.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Rustic Barn

Old abandoned barns make for great explorations and photographic opportunities, their individual characteristics of architectural details present themselves beautifully for the camera giving a hint of history and somewhat of a time line to the past.
This image was photographed in Guilford County North Carolina in 1981 using 35mm film, most of the farmhouse sharing the land was destroyed by fire but the old barn survived in the overgrowth of pastureland.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

The Back Shop

Built in 1905 in Spencer North Carolina was the huge Back Shop facility used by Southern Railway to overhaul their steam locomotives, it was once filled with milling machines, tools and a huge crane that serviced the iron horses at a rate of about three a week during its peak and was once North Carolina's largest commercial building of that time period.
With the modern upcoming age of diesel the building gradually became obsolete and finally closed its doors in 1960 though the classification freight yard remained open until the late 1970's.

Now part of the North Carolina Transportation Museum it is under Phase II of its renovation and seeking donations to help cover its $16 Million in construction costs.

This was photographed in 1979 prior to its renovation using 35mm film.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Doorway to Darkness

Fort Morgan Alabama on the Gulf Coast is quite a place to explore indoors and out, the abandoned fortress and its interesting history puts this on my favorite places list.

Its construction was completed and garrisoned in 1834, the forts new world architecture was designed by Baron Simon Bernard who was a French general of engineers and once served under Napoleon, years later he emigrated to the United States where he soon served as Brigadier-General of Engineers and given numerous extensive work for the government notably at Fort Monroe Virginia and around New York.
The fortress was named after Daniel Morgan who served in the Revolutionary War and later became a US Representative of Virginia.

In 1864 the confederacy with 600 men led by Brig. General Richard Page a cousin of Robert E. Lee surrendered the fortress during The Battle of Mobile Bay to Union Forces on August 23 1864 after a heavy two week artillery bombardment.

The fort was active during four wars.. The Civil War, The Spanish-American War, World War 1 and World War 2.

Listed as a Historical Landmark in 1960 and in 2007 it joined the list of the "10 most endangered battle sites" by the Civil War Preservation Trust.
The site is maintained by the Alabama Historical Commission and opened to the public.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Abandoned Roundhouse

Located in Spencer North Carolina is the famous Spencer Shops this was Southern Railways maintenance facility of the southeastern US, the roundhouse built in 1924 for steam locomotives has 37 bays and is one of the largest ever constructed, outdoors there is a 100 ft turntable that was used in conjunction with the roundhouse for servicing these mighty iron beasts of yesteryear.

This photograph was taken in 1979 as the second phase of land and buildings were being donated by Southern Railways to The State of North Carolina for its new transportation museum.

Today The North Carolina Transportation Museum has restored most of the buildings including the Roundhouse and Backshop, this facility is also used to restore both steam and diesel locomotives as well as antique passenger cars and rollingstock. It houses many exhibits including a great selection of fine antique automobiles. A train ride taking you around the property is also available.

I highly recommend this place to both history nuts and railfans alike, if your ever in the Charlotte and Greensboro areas this is a great place to visit.

Being an old urban explorer for many years I was fortunate enough to be able to have access to the site during the late 1970's and early 80's to photograph this image and many others that I will be posting from time to time in the future.

Photographed with 35mm film and Pentax camera.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Fort Slocum

In New York on the western end of Long Island Sound lays Fort Slocum on Davids Island that is owned by the City of New Rochelle, its history starting back before the Civil War consisted of a hospital that was built for military use and also servicing confederate prisoners that were located on Hart Island, one of the smaller islands next to it.

Over the years it was used by the Army Air Force and then as the temporary home of the First Air Force, in the early 1950's it went back to Army use and soon housed a school for Chaplains and the Armed Forces Information School, from 1955 through 1960 the new Nike Ajax Air Defense system was setup, the Radar and Control Systems were on Davids Island while the underground missile silos were installed on Hart Island.
The Chaplain school was moved to nearby Fort Hamilton in 1962 followed by the closing and transfer of the information school in 1965 to Fort Ben Harrison Indiana this was followed by the military totally abandoning the island after more then a century of operations, in the years following overgrowth, vandalism and fire damaged most of the building.

Unfortunately the City of New Rochelle officially condemned the island and everything was totally demolished in late 2008.

I would like to thank Michael Cavanaugh of the Fort Slocum web list and Alumni Association for contacting me and giving an update of the saddened news of Fort Slocum, his website has a more in depth history with photos of this great place and I would recommend anyone who may be interested to stop by and visit.

This photograph was taken with 35mm film at Glen Island in New Rochelle around 1980.

For you urban explorers a YouTube flick was released of some people exploring Davids Island, taken in 2003 it's about 10 minutes long, be advised some language written as graffiti may not be suitable for young viewers.